PRs, Pints & Queues At Brighton's Great Escape Festival


Written by Jolyon Rubinstein
Photos and illustrations by Elizabeth Miles
28 Thursday 28th May 2015

We at Don't Panic managed to find our way into the midst of the seaside capital, Brighton, for The Great Escape Festival, and somehow came out reasonably unscathed. Bar the sunburn, the sound of sea gulls squawks ringing in our ears, a belly full of chips and the smell of salt and vinegar on our hands.

With literally hundreds of bands to see at an overwhelming array of venues, we, like many others, found our way to the pub, guzzling away with the many other lanyard wearers, then realising that we had missed yet another hot act as a result of getting another round in.  

You get the sense that if you want a music industry job (which I don't) The Great Escape offers a unique chance to chat to a dizzying plethora of; music wizards, ultimate label folk, and every PR and management débutante, who all are doing shots and drinking pints like their livelihoods depended on it and will definitely let you chew their ear off if you're buying.

Not The Cribs, but good regardless.

Having finally dragged ourselves away from the bar, we managed to blag our way past a queue bigger than the shard to see The Cribs. Friday's hot ticket tore it up and reminded me that even though I'm too old to crowd surf, that it's still fun seeing the yoot having a go. With beer flying everywhere, I was reliably informed by a stranger that Kate Tempest had owned the stage the night before and that 'Dad Rock' King, Paul Weller, was playing a secret gig the next day. 

Like the rest of the lanyard'ed massive, we ended up on the sea front at 2am drinking overpriced G&T's out of plastic cups outside the Queen's Hotel where everyone talked all at once about an amazing band you'd never heard of whilst trying to steal your last rollie. I'm not going to lie - it was a lot of fun. 

I doubt many festivals in the UK offer an inbuilt hangover cure as effective as Brighton beach. If you could bottle it you'd make millions. 

Onwards towards Weller, we went departing Brighton for Hove which confusingly is just a different part of the same street. I realise a Hove ackshully local might attack me with an empty Abel & Cole crate for saying that, but I stand by it.

Weller wailed and people older than me shouted at him for not playing the classics but I thought he was a lot of fun. Not as fun as the beach though which I promptly fell asleep on soon after.

Waking with sun burn and the smell of chips wafting the streets, thus reminding me to eat something, we proceeded to not get in anywhere, as Saturday's head-liners became the talk of the beer gardens yet again. If you like the great British tradition of queuing, you'll love The Great Escape Festival. But to be fair, once the sense of anticipation has risen you're definitely having a better time as a result. Apparently Skepta smashed it but honestly I have no way of verifying this whatsoever because I was drinking in a pub listening to muso's talk business.

If you want into that business my advice would be get down next year and get chatting to the lanyards.  If not then just go anyway. It's a laugh. 

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